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Depression among physicians more likely to cause doctor errors

The holidays are often thought of as a joyful time of the year for Pottsville residents. While the holiday season can bring family and friends together, it can also create a great deal of stress and anxiety. This stress and anxiety can take the joy out of the holidays, particularly for those suffering from depression.

Individuals in particular professions may be more subject to depression than others. According to a new study from the Harvard Medical School, one in four new physicians is depressed. The rate of depression amount new doctors — 29 percent — is four times higher than the rate of depression among the general public, as 6.7 percent of Americans had at least one major depressive episode according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Medical professionals believe the numbers are not only troublesome for those who suffer from depression, but to the general public as well. Depression increases the likelihood of human error, which means that a doctor suffering from depression may be more likely to make a medical mistake as opposed to another doctor. And given the long hours, stress on the job and other factors involved in the medical profession, this is a problem that is likely to get worse before it gets better.

While those physicians who suffer from depression deserve to get help, patients who are injured by poor medical treatment should understand their options. If a doctor error is caused by a doctor’s negligence, and a patient is injured as a result, the injured patient can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or hospital involved. Regardless of the doctor’s personal circumstances, the doctor is held to a high standard of care in the person’s practice of medicine, and the doctor can be held responsible when there has been a violation of this standard of care.

Source: NY Daily News, “Doctors are more depressed than ever,” Jeanette Settembre, Dec. 11, 2015